Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: 202.22.18.241

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  • Andrew Smith,

    I wonder how many people actually care about wikipedia. It's hardly definitive on anything. I mean every man and his dog can have a view and that makes it pretty hard to get to any form of truth. Does wikipedia even have the truth as it's mandate anyway?

    Since Jan 2007 • 150 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I wonder how many people actually care about wikipedia.

    I use it pretty much daily. I want it to be sound.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22182 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The information about English's moral beliefs and his wife's activity in conservative Catholic organisations was added last April by user Calibanu, who I presume is the GayNZ.com columnist Craig Young. I don't have a clear view on whether Young's edit was appropriate, although its removal is equally questionable. What do you think?

    I don't know about Craig Young, but my partner and I actually have any number of differences of opinion on all sorts of matters. I also happen to be a fairly observant Catholic; he's a Methodist who, since I've known him, has never gone to church.

    Young's views on political conservatives and religion are well known. But, FFS, we are living in the 21st century aren't we? It is possible to assume that women are capable of having lives -- and opinions -- of their own?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12352 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And I'd also like folks to consider what the reaction would be if Helen Clark was tagged as an agnostic/atheist. That might be a relevant data point to some people, but unless New Zealand became a theocracy when I wasn't looking I fail to see what particular relevance it would have to her public life.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12352 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And I'd also like folks to consider what the reaction would be if Helen Clark was tagged as an agnostic/atheist.

    Er, her Wikipedia article__ does__ say just that. I can't see a problem with that. Like English's Catholicism, it's a matter of record.

    It also comments on her wedding to Peter Davis.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22182 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    It is possible to assume that women are capable of having lives -- and opinions -- of their own?

    Yes, of course. Although there is a key difference between you and your partner having different religious beliefs and English and his partner (possibly) having different religious beliefs and opinions, and that difference is that you, Craig, can separate sexual activity for recreation from sexual activity for procreation. If you're a practising Catholic in a heterosexual relationship, you can't - they are inextricably linked. English would have to be giving at least tacit approval to her beliefs in the reproductive realm, wouldn't he?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Johnson,

    I'd rather see Parliamentary editors register and declare interests in their profiles. That would be much better.

    Of course it would be better, but I doubt that it is going to happen. What I find distasteful is The Standards statement that it is the people involved (Peachey and English) who are making the edits. This is dishonest as there is no evidence of that at all.

    In fact I'd suggest that since changes (not vandalism) were made to entries for Nandor Tanczos, Chris Carter, John Tamihere, Darien Fenton, Anita McNaught, Darren Hughes, Tim Selwyn, Charles Chauvel, and Keith Locke from the same IP that it is a stretch to link the changes to National at all.

    WhaleOil had notes on this and other parliamentary IP address when the wikiscanner tool appeared last year.

    I expect we can look forward to more manufactured 'scandals' like this from The Standard as the year goes on.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2007 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    I wonder how many people actually care about wikipedia.

    I use it pretty much daily as well. The concept is sound in that if multiple people care enough, entries will become more accurate, not less. Contentious subjects have to be managed but the idea isn't that Wikipedia is your only source of information on, say George Bush.

    But to have an encyclopaedia with an excellent entry on The Black Ark Studio, a picture of the Mayhem album showing the vocalists shotgun suicide and Arsenal's Eduardo de Silva entry covering his horrific leg-break this last weekend is indisputably of value IMO. None of these would get a look-in or even be possible in a traditional encyclopaedia.

    Personally I think most political parties, ministerial offices and government depts should have openly registered Wikipedia editors in this day and age.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 941 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    I believe that we need to know about such stuff, for it is naive to believe that religious activities and political stances are not interdependent...not to necessarily make judgements, but to better understand how Bill English and his ilk shape their world view.

    To go off in another direction for a moment (I didn't want to distract people from the focus of the last post), I am very curious if anyone else heard the Jim Mora interview with John Pilger on NatRadio on Tuesday afternoon. If it was a battle, Pilger was the clear victor as Mora was very much out of his depth. I wonder if any NZ radio folk will dare to ring Pilger again.

    I do admire Pilger but I wonder too if he ever has private moments of doubt..

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2496 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Moreover, the information in question was taken from the newsletters for Doctors for Life and the Family Education Network which is available in the serials section of the National Library of New Zealand, and available on request.

    For that matter, English's conservative voting record on bioethical and family policy issues is available if one merely consults Hansard- or contacts Dr Margaret Sparrow at the ALRANZ website.

    Whoever's doing this is somewhat precious. The information is available freely elsewhere. As for my edit, surely it is a matter of public record that Dr English and her husband share particular views. Moreover, I expressed the information as neutrally as possible.

    I would dissent from Danielle's assessment, though. While some conservative Catholics might feel bound not to practice artificial contraception, liberal Catholics certainly did disagree with the Vatican at the time of Humanae Vitae. My own working-class lapsed Catholic mother stopped going to church at that time, because she didn''t believe that the church should saddle its poorer members with a reproductive and sexual health policy that they would bear the brunt of.

    Craig Young

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 455 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    i just want to know how i can get a job in government editing and writing wikipedia for a living.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    i just want to know how i can get a job in government editing and writing wikipedia for a living.

    You get a job writing policy for John Key & then you have all the spare time you need for wikipedia editing.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Or any job with NZ First - all your mornings will be free.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    While some conservative Catholics might feel bound not to practice artificial contraception, liberal Catholics certainly did disagree with the Vatican at the time of Humanae Vitae.

    It should be noted that in the early 1970s, in the years after Humanae Vitae, approximately 80 percent of American Catholics did not follow the teachings of the Church on birth control. Most of them just thought the Pope was wrong. (Which... yeah. Mental disconnect, since dude is meant to be the infallible voice of God, so... God is wrong? Or the Pope isn't the infallible voice of God? OK. Then why is anyone a Catholic at all?)

    My point is not that all Catholics follow those teachings, but that married heterosexual Catholics have to make some kind of stand somewhere on that spectrum, and if one member of the partnership is anti-contraception or anti-abortion, then the other member of the partnership can't just say 'oh, agree to disagree!' It's not like they can keep the issue separate from their sexual life. They'd have to come to some kind of mutual arrangement. Thus: Bill English's wife's stance is probably not that different to his stance.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Hamboy,

    It doesn't surprise me in the least that the political parties are tidying up their wiki entries. They would be stupid not too. I have no idea what the fuss is about.

    Yeah I'm always using the site, for technical information or just basic general knowledge.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 162 posts Report Reply

  • Hamboy,

    One should at, that since one knows that anyone can edit the pages, one kinda expects people to add abusive things to wikipedia pages of things they don't like and people to edit out things they don't like written about themselves.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 162 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I'm with Craig Young. Surely most people have a fairly good idea of the English's religious beliefs, if not the exact details of how that's played out. I think the fact that it's reported fairly regularly in the media is going to have a much greater influence in the world than removing it from wikipedia.

    If it's not inaccurate, why would you bother?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6241 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    What religion someone and their partner are is definitely of interest, and of public interest if they are a public figure. Of course it doesn't prove anything. My wife's Catholicism has had almost no influence on my opinions at all, and it's hardly like any of the suggestions above apply to her either - she's not against civil unions or abortion or contraception. She just believes in God, likes Christmas and Easter, and feels guilty a lot, usually about strangely petty matters. The only trouble I ever got from being an atheist/agnostic was from the Church itself when we were getting married - they insisted on a lot of marriage classes, which turned out to not be a complete waste of time after all. None of her family have ever made any issue out of it, and many of them are highly devout. From what I can tell, it's Anglicans they're bitter on, not atheists.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10477 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    From what I can tell, it's Anglicans they're bitter on, not atheists.

    Ah, agnostics more offensive than true believers, I suppose.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    From what I can tell, it's Anglicans they're bitter on, not atheists.

    This is more than returned, at least if my family is anything to go by.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4610 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Ah, agnostics more offensive than true believers, I suppose.

    Yeah, people who get to go to Church and get a divorce, without having to believe in God or feel guilty. How sick is that?

    This is more than returned, at least if my family is anything to go by.

    Well it does suck that Catholics have got all the good art.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10477 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Well it does suck that Catholics have got all the good art.

    It's the angst that does it.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4610 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    It's the angst that does it.

    Must be. I am a bit worried about letting my boy see dozens of pictures of a starved naked man getting crucified, though. I preferred their art when it was just pictures of wholesome motherly women holding cute little babies in whatever lovely looking anachronistic town the artist came from.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10477 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Danielle - Your'e saying in the arch conservatives within the Catholic Church would submit to the wifes view?

    I've never met Bill but from what I've seen he is pretty much a reasonable guy. That less than liberal views have been ascribed to his wife and by defacto him is not fair or credible.

    Last year a disident Catholic Nun held a lecture in Christchurch which was forbidden by the Bishop and so went on at St Maggies a private protestant girls school.

    The Pope is not infallable, infact he has said some clangers. GrandDad still has St John Paul up on the wall. Noones in a hurry to replace it with Benny anytime soon.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    Must be. I am a bit worried about letting my boy see dozens of pictures of a starved naked man getting crucified, though. I preferred their art when it was just pictures of wholesome motherly women holding cute little babies in whatever lovely looking anachronistic town the artist came from.

    C'mon, if it wasn't for all that crucifixion art we wouldn't have heavy metal.

    Ah, disregard...

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 941 posts Report Reply

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